students at apolloOn April 7, 2017 the Skyline College Vocal Jazz Ensemble (VJE), under the direction of Professor Michelle Hawkins, traveled to New York City to participate in the New York City Jazz Festival and the Masterworks Choral Festival.  Skyline College is the first institution to have an ensemble participate in both the jazz and classical festivals held by Manhattan Concert Productions.  This speaks to the level of excellence and diverse skillset of our ensemble singers.

As participants in the New York Jazz Festival, The VJE performed a set of jazz songs at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem.  Students were honored to perform on the same stage that launched the careers of so many jazz, RnB and pop legends. They had the opportunity to see the backstage areas of the theater and “rub the stump” on the famous stage. They also received a workshop by nationally renowned jazz educator, Rosana Eckert (University of North Texas).

For the Masterworks Choral Festival, the VJE combined with choirs from across the country to perform a large classical work for choir and orchestra at Carnegie Hall.  Under the direction of Bruce Rogers (Mt. San Antonio College), the Masterworks Choir performed Requiem by Gabriel Fauré with a full professional orchestra and soloists. Students were amazed, delighted and moved to perform on such a prestigious and beautiful stage.  Many students fulfilled a lifelong dream to perform at Carnegie Hall.

This life-changing opportunity was made possible by generous funding from the 2016-2017 President’s Innovation Fund.

Article by Michelle Hawkins | Photos by Phil Hawkins